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Getting Over the Hurdles

First off, did you watch Nathan Kelly on Bellator on Saturday? First round Ninja Choke. He is on an 11 fight win streak which is not a common thing in professional MMA. The Ninja Choke is also a rarely spotted technique in our game, so it’s a double whammy.

I’m going to write something now and you’ll probably say, “Wait, is he running Nathan down?” but I’m not, so read the full thing.

Nate has talent, obviously, but does he have some sort of freakish talent? I’d say no. He’s kind of short for a featherweight. His reach is probably 3 inches less than the average feather. He’s not incredibly flexible, and he’s strong in position but I wouldn’t describe him as the strongest guy. He hits hard, but there are harder hitters.

I’ve seen dozens of more physically talented guys come through the door.

So how did he get to his level? Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu at 24, fighting in one of the world’s top MMA promotions. One of the hottest talents in Europe.

I’ll tell you, cos I saw it happen.

You’ll say “Well he really wanted it” and that’s true, but loads of people really want it. So here’s my take.

The usual analogy goes like this- It’s a race. You get 100 guys at the start line, and they all want to be a big success. First hurdle they hit might be injury, and some of them fall. Then they hit a setback like a loss, and some of them fall. Then they hit another hurdle and some fall and so on until there’s one left. And he’s the success, the guy who jumped all the hurdles.

But that’s not the full story. Because from what I’ve seen and experienced, everyone falls, at every hurdle. So it’s not the guy who stays on his feet, it’s often the guy who falls gets up the most that makes it. The setbacks make you stronger. They steel you for what’s ahead.

And, maybe he won’t thank me for saying this, I’ve seen Nathan at the lowest of ebbs. And then I watched him come back, with some support, but mostly with his own determination.

And if I was to give you one lesson to take from that, it would be that you just need to keep going at whatever it is you’re doing. If you’re going to get your Jiu Jitsu black belt, remember it’s the old adage from Chris Hauteur that counts the most-

“It’s not who’s good, it’s who’s left”.

Those guys who tap you easily now will be gone in a year, or two. The guy who eliminated you so easy in the first round of your tournament might not have the staying power you do, and one day maybe you’ll be standing on the podium while he’s sitting on the couch.

So ask yourself, “Why Not Me?”

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